29 September 2009

Up Against the Wall

Because sometimes you just feel better after a good cry...

27 September 2009

And then the Rains came...

I believe I have found the definition of growing old.
When you are 14 and love music, the idea of going to a 13 hour all-day music fest is thrilling! Dude! You can't wait! You count down the weeks, then the days, then it is TOMORROW! ROCK ON! You make bizarre hand gestures and stick out your tongue and wave it wildly from side to side! You don't sleep much the night before, and then, you are up at the crack of dawn! AWESOMENESS! It is today!! You can't handle all the excitement you are feeling so on the way there, you blare your ipod, rock out in the back seat, insult your buddies and trade punches over just about anything. All is right in your little teenage world!
When you are the driver, who is NOT 14, (flip that li'l number right around...) and you love music and you love your 14 year old, the idea of driving to a 13 hour music fest that is 2.3 hours away and into the fabulous Beltway of our Nation's Capital is daunting, but not without it's charms and excitement! It is a beautiful, gray, young Autumn day and the State Fair is in town. What could go wrong, you ask yourself. It ought to at least be great music, and you have packed half of the kitchen into your little coolers. You have extra shirts, extra socks, umbrellas. You are not wearing flip flops or sandals. You are good. After all, some great bands are slated to play, you can't WAIT to see Kutless again and you have two, count 'em TWO fully charged digital kameras to kapture the aktion. Oh how quickly the two paths diverge. The teenaged boys are crammed into the mosh pit action, daughter and mature adult are back a bit, but still with a fab view of the stage. Yes, it's gray, but there are funnel cakes. We're good. Then, around 2 hours into your magical mystery tour, it begins to drizzle. Gently at first, as if it is not commited to it. The teens do not feel this slight moisture up in their violation of all personal space rules area. You, however, start wondering if you should trek the mile back to your car, uphill, both ways and retrieve umbrellas. Nah, it will quit. It doesn't seem to be getting worse. You put up your hood and daughter's hood and return to the festivities at hand. Ok, it is not stopping. In fact, it appears to be putting a bit more effort into it and is really sort of a rain now, not really a drizzle anymore, is it? That is NOT a good sign, but hey, how long does it usually rain anyway? Teens still oblivous. Most people here still walking around in flip flops and shorts. They seem fine...lets just fast forward a bit to when even the teens have noticed that there is moisture actually falling FROM the sky. The come back to the "spot", eat half a sandwich and head back into the fray. They are smiling. Foolish children. Daughter and I trek for the third time out to car (uphill both ways, now in muck) warm up briefly, because the temperature has plummeted. I'm pretty sure it is below zero, but most revelers still walking around sans umbrellas in shorts and most are now barefoot. I have been sucked back to Woodstock. Are these kids on DRUGS? How do they not feel the cold and wet? Will they all be hospitalized tomorrow? My teenage charges? They have not emerged from the pit. At least now that it is dark I can see that there is a large cloud of steam emanating from the huddled mass. I can only hope some of that is evaporating dampness and that my "kids" won't have to be nude on the way home. I am sorry, but I have fabric seats! I have now entered the seventh circle of Hell, and this is Christian music. How did this happen? I have never been so cold, nor so drenched in my life. I am racking my brain for history lessons on warfare and the conditions soldiers had to march in. How was their health? Did they survive all of the slings and arrows only to succomb to illness from the deplorable conditions? As a nurse, I know in my head that they can't catch a cold or pneumonia or the swine flu from being cold and wet, but why do I feel like they could? I'm now officially worried that despite medical science it IS possible. help me. The cold is affecting my brain. Why isn't there a tent here offering hot cocoa and blankets? What kind of people run this Festival? Brutes! At this point even the teens are shivering and huddled under extremely "un-cool" umbrellas. It's a little late for that but we have not covered saturation in chemistry yet. HA! I was mentally prepping that lesson as I tried to stop my teeth from chattering. Thank Goodness that Skillet was up next. Let the head-banging begin. I never really encouraged this behavior in my children before, but I am thinking the muscle movement should be warming. I try it. I stop. Skillet ROCKS. I am slightly warmed by the sensation that I have suffered through this day so my kid could see his musical IDOLS (no, not THAT kind of idols!) I just hope he survives it. Next time I am feeling rested and relaxed, I will describe the drive home. (Teaser: cold, drenched kids, kid who gets carsick if heat is on, frequent side of the road stops for false alarms, the Beltway in the pouring rain, a 2.3 hour trip on GPS that actually took OVER FOUR HOURS....) Just a little taste of the experience that was Awakening Fest 2009. Those pics I wanted to get of Kutless? Well, apparently it is difficult to take good pics and hold a large golf umbrella at the same time, especially when your hands are wet, the umbrella is wet and your camera is wet. Who knew? Oh, and I might have accidentally recorded a bit of the concert on my digital camera. I am so technologically unadvanced and all...and I am officially old.

24 September 2009

More Fall Giveaways!

Bloggers must be the nicest people in the whole wide world. Here is another brilliant blog giveaway over at Painting Thyme Needfuls. Take a moment to check out her gorgeous artwork (How 'bout that shoe!) and enter her giveaway. I realize that by doing so you will reduce my chances of winning, but Hey, I AM a blogger too!

23 September 2009

Why, "killevippen", of course...

When I saw this little door on a crafty blog ( I promise I will figure it out and post which blog, but right now I am unsure of exactly where I happened upon it) I thought immediately of my blogging friend RunLoriRun. I thought it would be a rad addition to the Alice In Wonderland mural she is working on. Tonight when I saw my desktop, there was the little door, calmly waiting to remind me of another childhood favorite. Here you will find a tiny tale by the author of Pippi Longstocking's adventures, Astrid Lindgren. Even though there is no actual door in the story, this is what Nils Karlsson's door would look like if it WAS there. When I was young, this story wrung every emotion known to childkind from my small frame. There was loss, sadness, despair, loneliness, warmth, friendship, and hope. I suppose it is something of a bleak tale, but so are many stories we loved as children. We just managed to find the good among the not-so-good, remember how we had to "find the moral of the story..." This story was in one of my Childcraft books, which I looked the world over for for a year or so, until I finally found one in a thrift store. So, Nils Karlsson is introduced to another generation and Bertil lives on in the imaginations of my children. I hope they love him as much as I did.

22 September 2009

Where the Rubber Meets the Road

Did you know that there was a Dictionary of Idioms? I should have ceased long ago to be surprised by what is available online at the drop of a hat, in mere seconds you can find practically any information you could imagine. But, looking for a title for this entry, I decided to double check my facts and make sure I was using that particular phrase in an acceptable way. I didn't want to appear idiotic, especially since my entry involves education. So, "binging" the phrase I discovered this, fount of all English usage knowledge. What a magnificent thing. We need never be confused again! Or, perhaps most importantly, we need never appear unintelligent after using a phrase incorrectly, leaving us feeling like Alanis Morissette after the she released the song "Ironic" which should have been called "Dude, It's Just Plain Bad Luck." I also have become quite enamored of the online thesaurus available here. Ahhhh, life is good. So, without further ado, my blog title quite simply refers to my new Adventure. A Moment of Truth. I am going back to school. I will do it online, which may be difficult for a procrastinator like me. However, I am going to do it. I will have to tighten my belt, financially speaking, even though that will also be approaching the impossible for me. In fact, that may well be the hardest part of the whole venture. I love to buy stuff. Which brings me to the reason for bringing it up in the first place. I will be, I 'm sure, utilizing this avenue of expression as free therapy as I attempt to 1) Spend less 2) Do my assignments in a timely manner AND 3) do my assignments in a timely manner THERE! I have made myself accountable!!
Let the wild rumpus start.....

21 September 2009

What do you get when you combine Shrimp Lo Mein with Chan the Man? Happy people who are hopeless at eating with chopsticks!
We got takeout last night for Hubby's birthday and popped the Charlie Chan at the Racetrack DVD in and created our own little bubble of happiness! The family had partied earlier while I was at work (How DARE they!) so now it was time to relax and contemplate the idea that another birthday ain't as bad as it sounds. Beats the alternative! I won't bore you with the details of WHICH birthday this was, especially since mine is creeping up on me too. We don't need to go there...

Welcome to my nightmare...

Okay, it is laundry time. Oh goody, my fave! I'll just gather up all of my not-so-fresh smelling clothing and plop them right in the good old-timey washing tub. There, they all fit, and there's room to spare! How about adding these jeans that are sitting in the laundry room basket? Yes, that will work. There's only a few pairs, they should fi...what the HELL is that dangling from the edge of my basket. Bloody bits, it's a spider. It is not terribly tiny, either, now is it? Well, at least it is sort of jiggling there like it is dead. Well, THAT is a relie- bloody hell... it's alive. No, not terribly tiny at all. And, it looks all weird. Long, black, glittery legs. Big, round shiny belly part. And that almost looks like a reddish mark there on the abdominal region. HA! I am imagining things! Just because it looks a little weirdish with long black glittery legs and a big round shiny belly part, and is BLACK, doesn't automatically mean it is one. I mean, just because this is the same time that I found one on my dear daughter's car door last year is no cause for alarm. I'll just calmly take another peek and, remaining calm, I'm sure I will discover that it is- bloodiest HELL. There is a black widow spider in my laundry room. On my laundry basket. On the edge where you lift it. Dangling in one of the little grid thingies. I f-e-e-l.... THUD. WAKE UP you NINNY! Get it the out of the house! Grab that basket and the nearest cleaning spray and fly, fly, fly to the out-of-doors! Bloody hell, I grabbed the Pledge! Does Pledge kill things? Why, YES! Yes, Pledge does kill things! Good Pledge! Return indoors leaving a lemon scented spot the size of a small zeppelin on the front walk. Burn plastic laundry basket and all clothing contained therein in funeral pyre on front lawn. DO NOT TOUCH SPIDER CARCASS. Leave that on front porch so husband will understand why you are no longer living in the house in the country. Keep checking spider carcass at least hourly until it turns to dust and blows away. This could take weeks, it is coated with furniture polish. Try to sit down and relax. After the twitching causes you to fall off of the chair, continue to get up and try again. Remember you don't want to be on the floor right now. Maybe a glass/bottle of wine will stop the spasms... Buy more Pledge.

18 September 2009

DGIF, again...

This is the second week in a row that I have not had to work in the middle of the week. I have had a hard time adjusting to what used to be my norm, and have wasted a lot of time. The worst thing about wasting time is that you don't realize the seriousness of it while you are doing it. Like a lot of ill-advised activities, you "just do it". Then, sometime later, you go "DOH!" a la Homer Simpson and smack your forehead. Hard. Which hurts. Ow. At some point in my future I am going to seriously regret all my wasted time. Like somewhere close to the end probably. Right now, I am just going to make a conscious effort not to waste much more. I mean, I am sure I will always waste SOME time, I am, after all, a procrastinator extraordinaire. I majored in it in college, and have kept up my studies since then. I think the key is to do something worthwhile that is VISIBLE, so that you have that thing to point at and say, "This is what I DID today." Then, it doesn't matter what else you waste your time on, you always have that thing that you DID. Just set a time limit. Like, this is what I DID in the last 24 to 48 hours. Don't, for example, use the phrase, "This is what I DID this month" unless it is big. Time limits are important. Unless you are the Doctor.
Then, time is irrelevant.
See, I can work a feel-good Friday moment into anything!!

11 September 2009


What a somber day. I know many people started the day with silence, raising their flags, talking about where they were when it happened. My thoughts are with all of those who lost loved ones on that day, all of those who were forever changed by their service in that time of need. The first responders, the bystanders who risked all to help others. It changed most Americans. It made people think, it made them worry, it made them thankful, it made them wake up. I don't have a lot to say other than that. It feels like a quiet remembrance to me. One you can't talk too much about, you sort of have to feel it. (forgive the Jurassic Park reference, but it applies here.) I did have one small thing to call attention to on this day of reflection. It will change my web browsing habits forever...
Here is what happened today when I "googled" a recipe.

And here is the background image from Bing.com.

I think that about says it all...

04 September 2009


Why don't I already know this? Ok, I am aware of the state of education in America, it is why I homeschool. This story should be part of every study of World War II, or just of society's response to war in general.
We should all be aware that change is possible, and it can be anyone who effects it, not just the rich and famous or those with clout, but sometimes just an ordinary man can make a difference that saves OVER 600 children from certain death. Winton has insisted that he wasn't doing anything special, "I just saw what was going on, and did what I could to help." Try telling that to the 669 people who made it out of Czechoslovakia and the 5000 children and grandchildren who WOULD NOT EXIST if Sir Nicholas Winton hadn't seen what was happening in the early days of Nazi expansion and done what he could to help. The article here is a good one for the heart of the story.

Sir Nicholas with one of the Czech children saved on his "kindertransport"

Sir Nicholas is currently 100 years old, and has survived to see the recreation of his life-saving trip by survivors, their family members and students who were selected to ride along. He was waiting for them at London's Liverpool Street Station as the vintage steam train pulled in. It truly is a wonderful story, check out my links throughout this post to learn more. Not only did this gentleman feel that a situation was wrong and want to do something to rectify it, he arranges endless details on both the Czech and British side of the journey, lined up foster families for the children and each child also needed a 50 pound "guarantee" (in 1939, remember) and he had to raise the money to cover any additional costs of transporting the children when they parents could not cover the total amount. The parents. Let's think about them for a moment. These were Jewish parents terrified of the encroaching Nazis. Knowing that time was limited and unable to pick up and leave, they lined up in a hotel dining room in Wenceslas Square in Prague and did what they could to at least save their children. Imagine the scene. Then move to the train station on the day of the children's departure. War always causes the unthinkable to become reality. I don't like to imagine the scenario that would have me lined up to send my children away from me. Thank God for Sir Nicholas Winton and all those who worked with him to save a generation of Jewish children from the fate that awaited them at home. Their families perished in concentration camps. A ninth and final train that was scheduled to leave the station with 250 children on it never departed Prague. It disappeared on September 3, 1939. The day Britain entered the war. 250 foster families waited in the Liverpool station for children that never arrived. Not one of those children was ever heard of again.

Jews who escaped Nazis as kids recreate train trip

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Nicholas Winton, photo: CTK

03 September 2009

Fab Fall

Ok , it is likely no secret to anyone that I LOVE this time of year. I know "officially" it is still summer, but I am not fooled by officialness. I can feel it. I can smell it. Fall is waiting in the wings. And I am feeling all thrilled. Do not panic. This is a normal transition for me. I don't mind any season while it is here. I tend to find ways to enjoy anything, but something about the first cool days of Autumn just send me round the bend. We have had a treat the last three or four days, with mornings that feel like October, so I think I have been hit by my "fever" a little early, but whatever the cause, I am lovin' it. So, I have spent hours over the last two days searching my favorite crafty sites on the interweb and have come across some FABulous fall blog candy.
Here is one I am particularly excited about! If I could have my choice,
I would pick this:

Olde Cape Primitives has been on my favorites list on
eBay for a couple of years now, and I am always trying
to duplicate her treasures, since there is no way I can
afford to buy one! They are quite popular!

I know the odds are slim, but I believe it is possible!
When Fall is in the air, and I feel like this, it is easy to
believe in anything!

Another awesome giveaway can be found here. Also a favorite eBay seller, Cart Before the Horse are spectacular artists! Very quirky and unusual dolls and quilts. Right up my alley!
These are not the blog candy giveaway, just a representation of what lovely dolls they make! The cat face is actually a mask that the doll wears! How cute it that??!??

02 September 2009

Dessert and the Doctor

My Blueberry Crumb Cake turned out pretty darned well. Freshly ground nutmeg or no, it was a little dry on the cake part, but otherwise, was perfect! The blueberries were nice and plump, the crumbles were nice and crumbly and just-right spiced. I imagine the slight dryness would have been well compensated for my adding some sweetened whipped cream, or vanilla bean ice cream. I haven't mastered the art of cooking with whole wheat flour, but I hope to eventually perfect it, since it is so much more interesting than white flour. Dinner itself went nicely and the kids all had a blast, which is what happens when you get three completely bonkers siblings together. Sometimes I can't believe I am really responsible for that much goofiness. We ate, we drank and we laughed until we cried and our stomachs were killing us. Then we settled into a nice, dark living room around the gentle glow of our HDTV for a dose of The Doctor. Doctor who, you might ask. Well, yes, actually, that is the one. We pulled out the ole DVD box set and watched "Tooth and Claw" from Series Two. I love this one, not only because it has a great werewolf, and the awesomely sexy David Tennant, but it is the episode which gives insight into the foundations of Torchwood, and manages to get us all thinking that the British Royal Family may possibly be, or not be, werewolves. It does NOT get much better than this, folks. I sliced up the Blueberry Crumb Cake about halfway through, and we all enjoyed dessert and The Doctor together. Ah, family. When you can gather round with your crew and have fruity cake and commune over superb entertainment brought to you by the Beeb , how can anything get you down? One glance around the room gave me the warm fuzzies, and they are still kind of squirming around in there.
You will find the Blueberry Crumb Cake recipe at this lovely site.
Like I said in my previous post, I substituted half of the flour in both the cake and crumb topping with whole wheat flour. I halved the recipe overall and baked it in a square 8x8 glass dish. It was perfect for one serving for everyone of us (6), with three slices left over.
Funny, but that will be JUST RIGHT for breakfast in the morning!
I'm going to look into taking out some of the butter and adding something like apple puree or something similar. Why look, we will be on a journey together, gentle reader! Yay! It will be much more fun that way, as I stumble through the adventure of healthy baking! I have been steering clear of anything sweet for so long! Ok, let us NOT bring up the graham crackers. I love to bake in the fall and winter, and instead of giving up on it completely, which, let's face it, would suck, I will attempt to learn how to make things which are tasty and healthy (at least somewhat healthy). This will make my kids happy, as they will get more than just fruit for desserts and snacks, and it will fill my "must bake" days, which are those days that are cool and crisp and just beg me to pull out my Martha Stewart fall decorating magazines and rearrange my non-Martha furniture in various ways to try to make it feel better about itself. Then, I move to the recipe sections and feel that I have way too few kitchen gadgets. Why DON'T I own a cherry and olive pitter? How can one offset spatula possibly be sufficient? These are the questions I ask myself...

Blueberry Crumb Cake in Smell-O-Vision

In anticipation of having co. for dinner, and in anticipation of fall, when my baking hits "constant" on my activity meter, I decided to hijack my breakfast blueberries and make something that for all intents and purposes, should be yummy. I found it on a foodies blog, and will post the details this evening, after my dinner is done. I don't know why I am running around like a chicken with my head cut off (does that bring back memories, or what??) the co. in question actually grew up in my presence and knows I am a packrat slob, but I have been cleaning all day. I am worried about my cooking too, but it is my son, and he thinks everything I make is spanking anyway! If I make burgers...Spanking! If I bake cookies...Spanking! If I open the pickle jar...Spanking! No one cooks like MOM! Anyway, the Blueberry Crumb Cake is covered with this lovely crumbly mixture, hence the name, and smells out of this world, which is why I tried, in vain, I might add, to post it is Smell-O-Vision. I think I need to read up on it some more, though it might be working, as I CAN smell it here. You'll just have to let me know...

blueberries...meet cinnamon crumbly topping
"How do you do, crumbly topping? You look sexy in white!"
"Merci beaucoup! I'm feeling a little spicy!"

I substituted half of the white flour with whole wheat in both the cake and the crumbly topping mixture, and since I had no freshly grated nutmeg (shhhh...don't tell Martha Stewart!) I tossed in a little ginger, though just a very little, because I have ABSOLUTELY no confidence in my ability to substitute ingredients. I'm like, well, ginger is a spice used in baking as well, so let's roll with it.
"Bring on the heat! We can take it!" -the blueberries

01 September 2009

Wild Things

Ok, I knew this was coming, but I don't think I was fully prepared for it. I may or possibly may not have started to cry as I watched the trailer here.

When I was a youngling, I did not have the
happiest of childhoods. However, I could always
find happiness and escape in the pages of a book.
This was one of my particular favorites...

Max making mischief of one kind
......and another

I read this Easy Picture book until I was well over 12 years old...um, who am I kidding? I still pull it out and read it. I have a sacred spot on my bookshelf that holds about a dozen thin volumes which mean more to me than any collectible or vintage book I own. My Where the Wild Things Are hardback is nestled in among them, as is Pierre, also by Maurice Sendak, Johnny Hop's Adventure by Mary E. Roberts, Junk Day on Juniper Street by Lillian Moore, The Story of Zachary Zween by Mabel Watts, The Cookie Tree by Jay Williams, and another personal favorite, Old Black Witch by Harry and Wende Devlin.
Sometimes I find myself cleaning off the bookshelf, or some other surface in my bedroom and before I know it, I am seated in front of that shelf with a pile of slender, colorful books in my lap and suddenly I am transported back in time. My cat Muffin has wrapped himself around my neck as I lay on my frilly bedspread and read. I love my time machine. It has a great filter. Only the good stuff is allowed to come back and keep me company. That cat was a marvel! He let my little sister wrap him up in her baby blankets and tuck him in a doll carriage. What cat does that???? I can still see his orange face peeking through her pink blankets. Only the smallest bit of his nose and eyes visible he seemed to be resigned to his fate. What a good boy! You would think he might have drawn the line at the pink surrounding him and tried to escape, but he was flexible that way. He'd stay on his back, wrapped up like that for several trips around the living room and through the hall. He'd usually slip out at some point, or be freed finally by my sister and slink off to the back of the house somewhere. Always I would find him on my pillow and as I lay down to read or listen to my 45's, he'd lie down across my chest and neck, tail around the top of my head like a fuzzy hat and we would just kind of "hang" that way. I still read lying on my back sometimes on the couch or the bed and I can almost feel him there, keeping silent company, sometimes looking up at the book as if he could comprehend all those letters on the page. I wish I had a photo of him, but I realise that it isn't necessary. He is so tied in with all those lovely books and memories that I can still see him hanging about when I get them out. Funny what you think of some times...